Illustration of Derek Powazek by Adam Ellis

Conspicuous Cobrandification

wtf amazonI went to Amazon today and was greeted by this thing at the top of the homepage. Apparently it’s a “show” hoster by Bill Maher, produced by Amazon, to move product.

Now, I think it’s great that Amazon is keeping Bill Maher behind a camera (just imagine the trouble he could get into in the real world). And I’m all for hearing a couple of tracks from the new Dixie Chicks CD (although it’s so “adult contemporary” I could just plotz). But what’s going on in Amazon’s Filthy Lucre Department?

Let’s play Count The Cobrands: Amazon … Bill Maher … UPS … Dixie Chicks … Cingular … oh my! It’s as if someone had a goofy idea (“Let’s make a TV show and just put it on the site!”) and then they just merchandized it to death. If two brands make a cobrand, what do five make? A pentabrand?

The thing is, I’m already inundated by brands vying for my attention at Amazon. That’s cool, it’s a store. But branding media is different. If Amazon is venturing into making media, that’s great, but stop there. Adding more brands to the mix just confuses the message to the user.

If I like this media, who do I thank: Amazon, UPS, or Cingular? The whole point of sponsorship is for some of the positiveness of the media/user relationsip to rub off on the sponsor. But that doesn’t work unless the sponsorship role is clear. With this many sponsors, the positive side effects go to nobody.

What do you think?

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Hi, I’m Derek. I used to make websites. Now I grow flowers and know things. I’m mostly harmless. More.